Magical Law Enforcement

As per The Patchwork Girl of Oz, Ozma has banned the practice of magic for everyone in the Land of Oz aside from Glinda and her student, the Wizard of Oz. It’s interesting that this doesn’t include the Good Witch of the North, but I don’t think L. Frank Baum even mentions her after Road. Phyllis Ann Karr’s Hollyhock Dolls actually makes a story out of this, with the GWN retiring from magic, but later returning to it with Ozma’s permission. As of Giant Horse, she claims she can only legally use it to help others, not herself. In Patchwork Girl, Dr. Pipt claims he’s allowed to work magic as long as it’s only for his own amusement and not for others or as a profession, but Dorothy later says she had earlier told him not to practice it at all.

At the end of the book, Ozma confiscates his tools and the Wizard removes his ability to work magic. The Royal Ruler tells Jenny Jump in Wonder City that she can only use her magic on herself, but changes her mind after she saves Number Nine.

Throughout the series, Ozma and her associates enforce the ban pretty strictly, but also somewhat arbitrarily. She apparently learns about how the Herkus use magic to increase their strength and enslave giants, but there’s no indication that she does anything about it. In Glinda, she claims that the giant spiders are defying her by means of magic, but their magic doesn’t appear to be anything they actually practice, and might be inborn. We also might be getting incomplete information in some cases. We never hear of her doing anything about Reera the Red, Wumbo the Wonder Worker, or Ozwoz. In all of these cases, we never see Ozma or her close friends encountering these magic-workers, and it isn’t even clear that she finds out about them. In all three cases, the characters who do encounter them have reason to keep them secret. Ozwoz also claims to be able to practice magic through a legal loophole, but whether this is accurate is never further discussed. If the Ruler has access to the Oz books as we know them, however, she must have found out about these lawbreakers eventually. There’s also the case of Gloma, who tries to destroy Dorothy but later becomes friendly with her, and we’re never told whether Ozma lets her keep practicing her witchcraft.

Picture by Alex Garcia
It seems like she generally leaves other magic-users alone unless they do something to draw her attention, like Mrs. Yoop transforming and imprisoning her friends, Faleero conquering Pumperdink, Mooj capturing Ojo, or any of the invasions of the Emerald City. On the other hand, Notta Bit More tells Ozma and her court about the Preservatory and presumably its Cookywitch ruler, and Davy Jones doesn’t appear to have any reason to keep quiet about the many witches and sorcerers he encountered on his journey down the Winkie River. In the latter case, maybe even Ozma and Glinda fear taking on that many nasty magicians at once. Some magic-workers who use their powers in the service of a higher authority, like Fanny the Weather Witch and some of the fairies who make their homes in Oz, might be exceptions to the law as well.Ozma also doesn’t appear to have any particular objection to individual kingdoms in Oz retaining national magical possessions, although perhaps she would if they could potentially cause harm.

Ozma does relax the law against magic somewhat over time, at least according to books outside the Famous Forty, as described in one of the appendices to the Royal Timeline of Oz. Even as early as Patchwork Girl, the Scarecrow refers to Dr. Pipt “practicing magic without a license,” suggesting that there is the potential for magicians other than Glinda or the Wizard to to obtain such licenses. We’re shown the process involved in such licensing in Melody Grandy’s Seven Blue Mountains trilogy. We also see Ozma granting an exception to Yookoohoos in Paul Dana’s Law, and relaxes the law considerably in Edward Einhorn’s Living House. We also find out in the latter that Dr. Pipt has gone back to practicing magic in secret.

Picture by Eric Shanower
It’s strange that Ozma has all of Pipt’s equipment destroyed after admitting that the Powder of Life “is really a wonderful thing” that the Crooked Magician “uses…in the most foolish ways.” She elsewhere has a habit of stockpiling magic, even if she doesn’t intend to use it. I was originally going to say more about that in this post, but I think it could probably stand on its own, and it’s hard for me to think of Oz-related topics these days.

This entry was posted in Characters, Edward Einhorn, John R. Neill, L. Frank Baum, Magic, Melody Grandy, Oz, Oz Authors, Phyllis Ann Karr, Ruth Plumly Thompson, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Magical Law Enforcement

  1. Pingback: Magical Law Enforcement — VoVatia | Scott Andrew Hutchins

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